Picture this: a young man who desires to serve God, acquaints himself with the Traditional Latin Mass at a chapel run by the Society of St. Pius X in a country other than his own. Later he writes to Archbishop Lefebvre asking where one might find the Society in his own country and how one might fulfil a calling to the priesthood. The Archbishop replies in a timely manner and the young man pursues his path. Eventually he enters a Society seminary where he encounters a mandatory test to all students who have studied Latin, either in the SSPX seminary already (from the previous year) or prior to entering the seminary so as to determine which class the seminarian should be placed according to his ability to translate the texts given. In this case the young man (who had previously had a number of years of Latin in public school) passed the test such that he was exempted from Latin studies. Another seminarian, far more gifted in the study of classical languages stops the young man one day and asks (with a quizzical demeanor) from whence the newbie had obtained his studies in Latin - he explained the above but the other seminarian seemed a little incredulous. Puzzled by this strange encounter, the newbie asked one of his counterparts why there should be such an odd question about his Latin skills only to be told that infiltrators from the Novus Ordo are routinely sent into SSPX seminaries and the way you can tell them is that they usually display a proficiency in Latin. Here the obvious - really ? They haven't taught Latin in most seminaries since the early 1970s ! Behold the initiation (for the young man in question) into the world of Trad conspiracies and infiltration. The young man would go on to hear the experience of many Traditional clergy from all shades of the theological spectrum and encounter rumors and conspiracies of all kinds.
The above story was shared with me, but it serves to demonstrate several things:
1) A certain paranoia exists in Traditionalists even when there is no legitimate reason for concern.
2) A degree of caution does need to be exercised given the opinion of many that there is no doubt that traditionalism has been infiltrated from top to bottom.
2) Contrariwise for every priest or bishop in the Traditional movement there are rumors for and against in every case and they are usually reduced to 5:
(i) Moral / financial problem - really the worst (homosexuality is the nuclear option here)
(ii) Jewish problem - they're really a secret Jew.
(iii) Freemasonry - they're part of the Lodge.
(iv) Invalid orders - self explanatory.
(v) Theological issues - (i.e. heretic) e.g. Modernist, Feeneyite, Sedevacantist (fill in the blank)
(A veritable "lexicon" of the terms bandied about by some of the armchair lay theologians here - and the techniques being employed behind the terms).
It doesn't matter the identity of the cleric - one or all of the above will and can be used in evidence against him. It's even better if a priest does the job because, until he falls foul of the "gossip mill" himself - his priestly status makes him seemingly unimpeachable. The quizzical priest, seminarian or Traditionalist layman (who is already convinced that any and all of the above apply) will almost always see objective merit when the suspicion is merely logical (in the mind) not in in the thing (in re). At this point the principle: "There's no smoke without fire" allows the "gossip mill" to function very well, thank you very much !
Objection: there are legions of examples where all of the above are true - absolutely !
However, not all is what it sometimes seems, (an odd statement follows) for their own protection, to keep the Novus Ordo away - a cleric may employ the appearance of some of the above.
All of which leads me to conclude that a healthy skepticism is not misplaced, and that "independence" from groups is probably essential today.
The most un-Catholic of all observations (since we are told to "revere" priests): beware the personality cult - each cleric is a sinner - and so are lay people - we all need God's grace.